Battleship surfaces some unique ideas as it combines the moment-to-moment action of a first person shooter with tactical strategy of commanding the American Navy. Like in the plot of the movie, aliens have invaded earth to threaten mankind with giant red pegs and sink our Battleships – well, maybe not the giant red pegs part, but pegs do appear in the game as time delayed explosive shells from alien ships.
Taking place just before the events of the movie, Battleship puts players in the role of Cole Mathis, an Explosive Ordinance Disposial specialist in the U.S. military. The game plays as a first person shooter on various locations on the Hawaiian Islands. Cole has access to a small arsenal, being able to use the standard issue assault rifle, grenades, pistol, shotgun or pick up one of the two total alien weapons. Standard foot soldiers with assault rifles, snipers, heavily armored melee fighters who force you out of cover, and a variety of enemy artillery stand between you and your objectives. There may not be much variety in small arms but players will also be getting some help from the ships off the coast.
At any time, players can access their Battle Comm – a tactical grid map where movement and attack orders can be issued to friendly ships. Ships range from massive Battleships to lightly armed aircraft carriers, each with different strengths and weaknesses. They can take up support, defensive and aggressive positions to either fend off attacking alien craft or support Cole and the other ground troops. All actions directed in the Battle Comm are seen played out in real time when you return to normal gameplay and can greatly affect the battle on foot
If a ship is moved to a support position, Cole can call in air strikes to take out dug-in alien infantry and employ a variety of effects on enemy troops. The effect of the artillery strike depends on what type of ordinance is being used and from what type of ship is shooting. For instance, a submarine’s special artillery strike launches out a non-lethal sonic emitter that disorients and distracts enemies allowing players to get up close and personal. In addition to ships affecting the ground battle, players can also gain power-ups to bolster ship stats.
One of the game’s most intriguing features, wild cards, can be picked up from fallen enemy soldiers and completing objectives. The cards can then be assigned to one of three slots on a friendly ship and stacked up to three times. The bonuses might be boosts to attack power, defensive ability or radar range while others will launch players into a minigame and take direct control of a ship.
The movie tie-in will release in May on the Xbox 360 and PS3.